MUSIC THERAPY, PALLIATIVE CARE, AND MYTHS ABOUT GRIEF & MOURNING · Parkinson's Resource Organization

MUSIC THERAPY, PALLIATIVE CARE, AND MYTHS ABOUT GRIEF & MOURNING

Category: Newsworthy Notes

Because music is non-threatening, enjoyable and enhances brain function, people of diverse ages, backgrounds and abilities can gain therapeutic benefits through music therapy. Music therapy can bind with other healing efforts to address the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of patients.

Who Can Benefit from Music Therapy?

Music therapy provides the most benefit to patients who:

  • Lack social interaction or sensory stimulation
  • Experience pain and symptoms that are difficult to control through traditional medical interventions
  • Feel anxious or are affected by dementia
  • Look for a concrete way to cope or to define or articulate feelings or thoughts
  • Face communication problems due to physical or intellectual impairments
  • Need spiritual support, possibly involving other family members
  • Enjoy music to enhance their quality of life or maintain dignity

What Techniques are Used?

Music therapists draw from an extensive array of music activities and interventions. For example, the therapist and patient might compose songs to help express feelings; a patient might learn to play the piano to improve fine motor skills or use musical instruments to cope with unspoken emotions.

PALLIATIVE CARE

If you or a loved one has a serious illness, palliative care can help. A complement to the medical treatments your doctor is already providing, palliative care helps manage pain, alleviates symptoms to improve quality of life and offers emotional and spiritual support as you deal with difficult medical issues.

Your attending physician may refer you to a Palliative Medical Associates specialist to add another expert to your care team. VITAS palliative care physicians are highly trained in managing pain and symptoms that accompany serious illness. They work closely with your attending physician to ensure a completely coordinated plan of care.

Palliative care may be provided at any stage of illness. It is up to you and your doctor to determine when a palliative care specialist should be involved.

What you can expect:

  • Help with pain and symptoms such as shortness of breath, excessive fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite and sleeplessness
  • Improved ability to carry on the activities of daily living
  • Ability to continue receiving prescribed medical treatments and better tolerate them
  • Help in navigating the healthcare system
  • Better understanding of your condition and available choices for your care
  • Emotional and spiritual support

MYTHS ABOUT GRIEF AND MOURNING

You Just Need to Get Better: The standard bereavement leave policy at many companies is three days. Does that mean that in three days we are expected to be back to business as usual? Our culture views grief the way we view the flu: That it’s something we can completely recover from, and that if we take a few days off—maybe take some medication for our “nerves”—we should be cured in no time.

We All Grieve in Pretty Much the Same Way: Not true. There is tremendous variation in style of grieving (instrumental versus expressive), cultural variations in grieving, and variations in length and intensity of grieving. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

It takes About a Year to “Get Over” a Significant Loss: A survivor whose loved one died after a long history of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease may have a relatively short grief response after the death. He or she may have grieved the loss of the loved one’s personality years before. A parent whose child died years ago may feel they have never gotten over the loss. Generally, it is thought that intense grieving lasts from three months to a year and that some people continue experiencing grief for two years or more.

It’s Better Not to Think or Talk About the Pain: On the contrary, it has been proven that avoiding the pain associated with grief can have negative consequences, including physical problems, anxiety and depression. Those who are grieving need to honor the amount of time they need to grieve, and not try to live up to their own internal expectations or outside pressure.

The Intensity and Length of Your Grief Reflects How Much You Loved the Deceased: This just isn’t the case. There is no grieving contest and no winner. You must feel what you feel and begin to live life when you are ready, on your own timetable. Your grief has no bearing on another’s, or on the depth of your feelings for the person who has died.

Find the nearest VITAS Innovative Hospice Care®.

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Indian Wells, CA 92210

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Updated: August 16, 2017